2014 Conference Session Abstracts

6th Conference Presentation Abstracts

The following are summaries of this year's conference presentations accepted from our international call for presentations.

  • There will also be a conference track in which institutions which have made substantial progress towards normalizing collaborative online international learning courses as part of their internationalization strategies will be highlighted. More info will be posted in February.
  • More details regarding the conference plenary sessions will also posted to this page in February.

A Conversation about Online Collaborations using Facebook and Synchronous Communication: Student and Faculty Perspectives

Hope Windle, Jeannine Mercer, Mindy Kole, Marwa El Charif, and Charbel Ghanime

In our global economy international business skills are essential.  While technology makes collaboration possible, human interaction and understanding of cultures, values and lifestyles also play a role.  This presentation will share student perceptions of technological and cultural lessons learned during a social media group project. Learn the challenges students at SUNY Ulster and in Lebanon faced to communicate successfully, and how Facebook and a synchronous session improved their motivation and interaction.

A Multi-disciplinary, Multi-media, Cross-cultural, Science-Fiction Movie Education Experience

Lisa Dethridge

This presentation describes a multi-disciplinary, international collaboration between students and staff at SUNY Oswego and RMIT, a “global university of technology and design” in Melbourne Australia. Students collaborated to research and produce a range of outputs including essays, blogs, screenplays, science fiction movies and a documentary. This course involved multiple collaborative international learning experiences for the students using mixed-delivery methodology including online synchronous video conferencing and international travel involving face-to-face collaboration between the two student cohorts.
A View from the Trenches: An Instructional Designer Perspective on COIL
Douglas Hemphill
This session will offer a view into the growth of SUNY Oswego’s COIL initiative, from two courses in fall of 2012 to a sustainable and maturing program featuring six courses in six countries in the spring of 2014. The presentation will cover high level processes and workflows, but will be focusing on the challenges faced from an instructional design standpoint.

An Institutional-specific COIL Program: What Would it Take

Uliana Gabara, Ann Hodges and Maurizio Del Conte

Richmond has some 65 partner universities abroad. More than 60% of students graduate with study abroad and 11% are international. A COIL program using the partnerships has the potential for expanding faculty involvement in collaborative teaching and research and enhancing internationalization at home. Yet, with this infrastructure in place, significant challenges must be overcome. Sharing our analysis of the challenges and work undertaken for addressing them can serve other institutions embarking on COIL projects.

Barriers to Collaborative Online Learning in Slovakia

Katarina Pisutova

I will present results of a study on collaborative activities in online courses in Slovakia, and student and teacher perceptions of these methods. I will analyze the barriers to collaboration in light of authoritarian heritage in education system and explain how they represent in hampering online collaboration on an example of COIL course conducted in 2012. Participants will brainstorm effective ways to have students better engage in international collaborative activities and critical thinking in an online environment.

Blogging as Intercultural Ice Breaker

Karyn Hollis

I will present the correspondence (text and images) between my students and students
abroad as they exchanged information in preparation for a face to face encounter. A
set of lively and provocative questions were presented over a month and a half to both
sets of students to answer and illustrate with images. The questions elicited unexpected
and insightful cultural information on blogs set up for the exchange, providing us with
greater awareness and acceptance of the cultural differences we would encounter

Breaking the mould: Engaging with COIL to enhance internationalising the curriculum at Glasgow Caledonian University

Sabine McKinnon, Liz Frondigoun, J. David Moore

This session presents how Glasgow Caledonian University engages with COIL to embed an internationalised curriculum in different subject disciplines as part of a university wide strategic change project. It consists of three short presentations from academics in different subject areas: the central learning and teaching centre, social sciences and audio-technology. The presentations are followed by an interactive activity for the audience which introduces them to some of the CPD materials developed for the project.
Closing Plenary – How Can We Work Together to Normalize COIL?
Jean Bernard Adrey, Jenifer Cushman,  John E. Fowler, Jon Rubin
In this session the moderators from each of today’s Road to Normalization Track sessions will summarize some of the key lessons and ideas put forward in each of those presentations. This will set the stage for a moderated discussion, also including our keynote speaker and the Director of the COIL Center, where all conference attendees are welcome to share the ideas, questions, or inspirations related to this year’s theme that they have gathered in the past two days. By working together and sharing ideas and best practices we can each contribute to advancing the collaborative online international learning field along the path to normalization.

Crackerbarrel Session on Internationalizing Teacher Education: Promising Practices from the Field

Anjoo Sikka, Nancy Chicola, Philip Long, Janet Duncan, Frederik Ahlgrimm, Miriam Vock

This “Crackerbarrel Session” is an interactive session focusing on promising practices, research and strategies for creating equitable learning experiences, soliciting innovative practices currently underway,  and exploring research around online pedagogy to guide curriculum.  Organized around three primary themes:  a) preparing globally-minded teachers, b) innovative curricular practices, and 3) research findings, participants in this session will contribute to the discussion and receive a booklet of promising practices from this session.  

Evaluating international cross-cultural skills obtained in a study abroad, faculty-led trip, or a COIL course

Bidhan Chandra,  Susan Jagendorf-Sobierajski, Keith Landa, Runi Mukherji, Rebecca Smolar, Patrice Prusko Torcivia

Deep engagement with another culture often occurs in international study trips and COIL courses. Measuring the outcomes of the international engagement and associated learning is challenging. A group of faculty and staff from six SUNY campuses and Cornell University created a Cross-Cultural Evaluation Toolkit to measure the attainment of cross-cultural skills from these experiences and other experiential learning activities. This session will present the Toolkit, including rubrics and guidelines that are being piloted this spring.

Building a COIL program: the SUNY-Oswego experience

John Kane, Lorrie Clemo, Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Doug Hemphill, Amy McHugh

This session will describe lessons learned during the development of a campus COIL
program. It will examine how we have built a network of support to encourage and assist faculty and programs in developing COIL courses. This support comes from many areas of campus including: the Provost's office, experienced COIL instructors, the SUNY-COIL Center, the Oswego Office of International Education and Programs, the Division of Extended Learning, and the campus teaching center.

Community Colleges at SUNY Normalizing COIL

Donald Katt, President, Katherine P. Douglas, Jayne Peaslee, Richard Cattabiani

Moderator: John E. Fowler
This session will feature representatives from two of the leading SUNY Community Colleges which have made substantial progress along the path towards the normalization of COIL courses. Each speaker will discuss the rationales behind their programs with a particular focus on the benefits that COIL can bring to community college students, faculty and staff. They will highlight strategies being employed at their campus, including the ways they garnering ongoing support for their initiatives as well as approaches to support and encourage faculty and student involvement.

Fostering Students' Intercultural Competence in a Language Class with Online Collaboration

Sabine Levet

This session will present Cultura, a project aimed at developing intercultural learning where students from two different cultures collaborate online and compare a variety of materials from both cultures. Initially designed for an intermediate French class at MIT, it has been adapted in other languages by a number of universities in the US and abroad. The session is aimed at instructors and administrators looking for a model of online intercultural exchange to prepare their students for working across cultures.

From collaboration to consultation: incorporating two-tiered learning in a multi-sited, international online graduate course

David A. Sonnenfeld, Bettina Bluemling, Lei Zhang, Cherry Ignacio

This talk discusses a two-year effort to develop a collaborative, online international graduate course involving institutions in the Netherlands, New York, and China, respectively. A unique feature of this course was that students worked jointly for an external client; this resulted in what we term, “two-tiered learning”. This presentation addresses key lessons from this effort, through the course's initial implementation in fall 2013, and looking forward, how best to support “two-tiered learning” within such courses.

Fully COIL’d Reflections

Mark Reisinger, Maureen Gardner and Arielle Nissenblatt

During the fall semester, 2013 we taught a fully COIL’d course that included 15 students from Binghamton University and 16 from Zhenjiang International School. In this presentation we will present both lecturer opinions and student voices of the benefits and struggles of collaborative online learning and international group work. The students in both Binghamton, NY and Zhenjiang, China were asked for their opinions on cultural difference issues in group work, personal feelings on the course, and how the course could see improvement. Student perspectives on the course allow for the betterment of future international class work. In this presentation we will present our findings.
Going the distance – what students say about effective learning online
Uwe Matthias Richter and Phillip Long
This presentation explores the significance of the social aspect of online learning, the online learning community, and learning activity design for the level of online learner engagement based on research into three postgraduate modules, two of which are part of a distance learning Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education. The research focused on the learner experiences on these distant learning modules.

Global Work Teams:  Are We Adequately Preparing Our Students?

Susan Bray

The world is in the midst of a transformation in the workplace that requires people to work in teams across time, distance, and culture. Global Work Teams represent a “new sociology of work.” The presenter will challenge the audience to consider if their educational programs are adequately preparing students for this new reality.  She will share examples of possible content, what some universities are doing to address this.

Goldilocks Goes Global: Setting the Stage for ‘Good, Better, or Just Right’

Rick Arrowood, Eva Kampits and Heidi Gregory-Mina


Increasingly, faculty are faced with addressing the expectations of and demands by multicultural, multi-lingual, techno-savvy students. While there are many good learning
models today, academics still strive to develop a perfect online engagement model. We
explore teaching and learning scenarios used in online and blended global classrooms that provide insight to what may be ‘good, better, or just right.’ We will share pedagogical
approaches for supporting engaged students that focuses on internationalization in higher

Grow Your Own:  Strategies for cultivating larger scale virtual exchange

Greg Tuke and Natalia Dyba

The University of Washington-Bothell has launched a campus-wide effort to embed and scale online international collaborations throughout the curriculum in partnership with a nearby community college and resources from COIL. In this presentation the team, led by Greg Tuke, who has taught international collaboration courses for 10 years, Natalia Dyba, UW Bothell Global Initiatives Director, and a faculty member engaged in the training, will discuss the strategy framework, challenges and successes to date in strategy implementation.

Hospitality and Online Intercultural Pedagogy:
Practical and Theoretical Reflections

Nathan R.B. Loewen, Eric Lozowy, Jennifer Mitchell and Stacey Dewolfe

“Hospitality” is an essential element of intercultural pedagogy that informs synchronous collaborative online courses. As a conceptual foundation and a practical strategy, hospitality is the competency developed by such courses. The co-hosting unique to this pedagogy requires reciprocal and mutual interactions between institutions as well as among participating teachers and students. All participants are simultaneously visitors and foreigners in relation to each other. The reflections of this panel are based on an ongoing project.

The Instructional Designer as Full Partner with Faculty in the Design of COIL Courses

Rick Reo

A core challenge for faculty new to developing Globally Networked Learning Environments (GNLE) courses involves faculty professional development issues related to quality online course design and effective online teaching. A key step in addressing this challenge is to understand the multidimensional role of the Instructional Designer (ID) in the planning of highly collaborative, online, international learning environments or courses, and to make explicit the critical pedagogical role played by IDs in the course design relationship.
International Institutions Normalizing COIL
Ulrike Lucke, Keiko Ikeda, Nathan R.B. Loewen, Eric Lozowy, 
Moderator: Jean Bernard Adrey
There are multiple paths towards the normalization of COIL courses. This session will feature representatives from international institutions which have embarked on that journey. Each presenter will introduce their initiatives including the rationales behind their programs. They will also highlight strategies being employed at their campus to support and encourage faculty and student involvement and to facilitate the growth and sustainability of their initiatives.

International Online Language Teaching: Collaborative and Natural vs. Self-paced and Structured

Gulnara Sadykova, Gulnara Gimaletdinova, Lilia Khalitova and Nazira Migmanova

The presentation will describe and compare two separate international online language-learning practices. The first one involved English language learners studying at Kazan Federal University (Russia) who participated in an online cross-cultural module and performed online activities with their U.S. and Lithuanian peers. The second online language learning practice engaged learners of Tatar from around the world into a mostly self-paced learning activities created for independent studies. The presenters will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of both online language courses and propose their vision of an effective and engaging international online language-learning course.

NewsActivist Website Update

Gabriel Flacks

Between 2007 and 2012, Flacks developed a curriculum which encouraged students in the US and Canada to write and think critically about contemporary issues collaboratively, sharing perspectives and ideas while building local and global awareness To facilitate this form of pedagogy, Flacks developed a website, www.newsactivist.com, that helps teachers and students easily manage and coordinate cross-campus, international collaborations. Since the site went online, in fall of 2012, over 2000 students and 20 professors have used the site to help achieve a variety of pedagogical goals.

Online means audience: Turning the students’ perspectives outward to the world

Keiko Ikeda and Don Bysouth


This presentation reports findings from two types of qualitative pedagogical trial projects (one with a 15-week long class period, and the other involving a sequence of Skype conferencing meetings) undertaken during the Fall term of the academic year 2013 in Osaka, Japan. Findings from the projects suggest various implications in developing pedagogical approaches to deliver practical outcomes in terms of students turning their minds outwards to others in the world.

Online collaboration in teacher education: some insights from an ongoing trial

Miriam Vock, Frederik Ahlgrimm

Experiences from an online collaboration of two scholars from the USA and Germany will be presented. The process of establishing the collaboration, difficulties and outcomes will be described. As a result, differences and similarities of both academic communities will be pointed out. As we will show, these can provide learning opportunities for students and scholars alike.

Plenary Session: The Road to COIL Normalization – Panel Discussion

Lorrie Clemo,Joyce Budai,Uliana Gabara, and JB Adrey

Moderator: Elmer Poe

George Bernard Shaw said “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.“ Today our challenge is to foster transformative communications between students in the world’s diverse cultures. But how to embed this process has become an essential question for higher education. Collaborative Online International Learning provides such a vehicle for direct and personal global experiences for students, faculty and staff. Over the last decade the success of COIL programs has been demonstrated in a wide variety of courses using a range of tools. But how do we move these programs from the exception to the exceptional? At the COIL Center’s 6th Conference we explore paths that may take the normalization of COIL experiences into the mainstream of higher education through a series of dialogues with those leaders working to make that happen.

Private Colleges Normalizing COIL

Eva Paus, Kate L. Daniels, Joyce Budai, GianMario Besana

Moderator: Jenifer Cushman
This session will feature representatives from private colleges in the U.S. which have made substantial progress along the path towards the normalization of COIL courses on their campuses. Each speaker will discuss the rationales behind their programs and highlight strategies being employed at their institution, including the ways they garnering ongoing support for their initiatives as well as approaches to support and encourage faculty involvement.

Research-Based Teaching: Weblogs – a Source for Collaborative and Informal Learning

Alexander Henning Knoth

The contribution reflects on my research-based teaching concept for an interdisciplinary and international university seminar, which focuses on a “seminar log”. The tool enhances student’s participation and learning and offers plenty possibilities for transnational teaching scenarios. Short articles and frequent comments initiate student activities as well as scientific discussions within a self-regulating and student centric sphere. Collaborative and informal learning are the key concepts do deal with the student’s cultural background and different existing hierarchies.

Synchronous Courses with Global Partners Using Videoconferencing

Todd Austin and Philomena Meechan

The University of Michigan is in its second year of an initiative that provides funding and
support in instructional design and videoconferencing technology to faculty from across the university who seek to organize synchronous co-taught courses with overseas partners. We will share the challenges we have met, successes we have enjoyed, and some of the technology we have used in this effort. We invite you to join us and explore the world of synchronous co-teaching.

Teaching Writing, Intercultural Competence, and the Advent of MOOCs

Ghanashyam Sharma and Michael Murphy

In the context of increasing corporate influence on higher education, especially through the advent of the dominant forms of MOOC, established academic cultures and pedagogical practices in disciplines like writing and rhetoric could be severely undermined. This session will highlight the above by discussing what pedagogical approaches and methods can and cannot be implemented and upheld through different modes of online education.

The Value of a Virtual Term Abroad

Lorette Pellettiere Calix and Patrice Prusko Torcivia

Researchers used the work of Etienne Wenger, et.al in Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework (2011) to assess the value created by a virtual international experience. The results indicate that even short term COIL-type collaborations create value and promote student engagement and learning.

Thinking Otherwise:  How Global Perspectives Transform Education

Mary Jensen, Jane Fowler Morse, Linda Steet

This panel will discuss integrating global perspectives into teacher education courses through digital networking. Panel members received a grant at their campus to support efforts of eight faculty members interested in developing international and digital connections in their courses.  We will share our approach to collaborating to build global connections, and invite faculty from other universities to share their strategies and experiences.  We started with an idea, pursued it doggedly, and have begun to reap the benefits. 

Using the Sakai Collaborative Learning Environment to collaborate internationally

Christian Bond

Created more than a decade ago as an open-source LMS alternative, the Sakai collaborative learning environment (CLE) is now used by more than 400 higher education institutions around the globe (in 19 different languages), including 11 of the world’s top 25 universities. Members of this vibrant international community work together to continually improve Sakai, making it a flexible, innovative, cost effective LMS solution. In this presentation, we’ll take a quick look at the Sakai open source community model, discuss its features and benefits and how you can use it to collaborate in different languages to create courses and/or use the project site feature where users can share documents, videos, ideas, images and use web 2.0 tools to collaborate.

We Teach the World:  Building International Competence and Engagement into the Undergraduate Education of Preservice Teachers

Marley S. Barduhn, James O’Meara, Janet Duncan, Miriam Vock, Frederik Ahlgrimm, Anjoo Sikka, Philip Long, Nancy Chicola

This interactive panel session will explore national policy and promising practices in internationalizing teacher education. Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement outlines the U.S. Department of Education's International Strategy for 2012-16. This document represents an important road map for those designing innovative approaches to international learning to prepare learners for success in a globalized world   This session will examine current status, challenges and progress toward increasing global competence of teachers and students.

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